O.k. here we go! This
is my first cigar box guitar build and I thought some of you might be interested in the very simple processes and steps I took to complete this project for under $20 and in about 8 hours (I know, longer than you would like to spend, but I'm a slow learner). The first thing I had to do was figure out where to get the boxes, after purchasing a lot of around 8 on ebay I got the bright idea to stop by the local cigar afficionado shop and low and behold! They had stacks of boxes just sitting on the floor! Doing my best not to be too greedy I grabbed 4 or 5 that looked like they had potential. I ended up deciding on the padron box. It was nice and long and fairly shallow and surprisingly a lot of these boxes are made out of some pretty nice woods like, cedar, oak, and mahogany. It had Farley scribed childishly on the front by the shop as these were a ordered by a customer, so the instrument is aptly named Farley.
Now for the neck. After consulting a ton of articles, and seeing cigar box guitar after cigar box guitar with nicely done fret jobs, truss rods, transplanted necks from acoustic guitars, and on and on, I decided that the first one had to be SIMPLE! I headed down to the local "store in a box" and picked up a 2 foot 1" x 2" piece of maple. I cut a 1/4" groove out of it where the lid of the box sits when on the guitar. Well I'm guessing its more like a constantly varying depth relatively near a 1/4 of an inch. I had bought a coping saw and being a complete greenhorn thought I would be using that on the maple. Ha! I would think that I have some concept of how hard maple is but I apparently do not! So after some him-hawing around I threw caution to the wind and got out the sawzall. What can I say, it's the only saw i got! After this was completed I cut a little out of the headstock so the tuners would fit properly. An old Harmony Stratocaster copy provided the tuners and the 1/4 inch input jack.
One of the coolest things about this guitar is the pickup. Simply put it is a transducer from Radio Shack bought for $2.99. (If you go to www.cigarboxguitars.com you can find plans and parts numbers for anything in this article). I have to admit at first I was skeptical, I mean, for $2.99 is this thing even going to make sound? The answer is hell yes! When I plug it into my Ampeg Reverberocket and give it a little volume, BLAMMO! I get a dirty gritty, slap your momma blues tone!
For the nut and the bridge I simply went to the hardware store and sifted through the bins for a bolt that could hold the strings. They are completely loose and held on by the string tension. Drill a few hoes in the end to run the strings through and tune her up! I tuned this to an open E tuning of E B E, using a .42, .32, .22 gauge acoustic guitar strings.
Now I had never built an instrument in my life, but this was a tremendous amount of fun and I am starting a four string in the morning! I'm telling you wether its just out of curiosity or your a serious blues player, you build one of these and your going to enjoy it!